What is Canine Rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation uses physical therapy techniques to help feline and canine patients recover from injury, improve mobility, and regain a better quality of life. In the past, when animals would injure themselves, the typical treatment included pain medication, rest, and/or surgery. In many cases, this protocol did not fully treat the underlying problem. Over the past few decades, the field of animal rehabilitation has advanced to help our furry friends feel better with a less-invasive approach. Similar to physical therapy for humans,the goal of canine rehabilitation is to help dogs regain their strength, range of motion, and balance by using various techniques, such as exercise, massage, and therapeutic modalities like cold laser therapy. These techniques can help reduce pain, inflammation and swelling while improving circulation and increasing muscle strength and flexibility. Canine rehabilitation can also involve the use of assistive devices such as harnesses, braces, and carts to help dogs who have difficulty walking or standing. In addition, rehabilitation can include activities that help improve a dog’s cognitive and behavioral function

Can it Help My Pet?

There are many conditions that can benefit from canine rehabilitation, including:

  • Orthopedic injuries, such as torn ligaments, fractures, and dislocations
  • Neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injuries or degenerative myelopathy
  • Post-surgical recovery, such as after orthopedic surgeries like cranial cruciate ligament repairs or femoral head ostectomy
  • Chronic conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and obesity
  • Aging-related conditions such as loss of mobility, muscle mass or cognitive function

Early rehabilitation therapy following surgery or injury has been proven to reduce recovery time, better manage pain, and increase strength. That is why it is important to work with a certified canine rehab specialist as they are trained to safely initiate the early mobilization while protecting the vulnerable healing tissue.

What is a Canine Rehabilitation Specialist?

A canine rehabilitation specialist is typically a veterinarian or a physical therapist who has undergone additional training within the field of canine rehabilitation. These therapists have a deep understanding of canine anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, and use their knowledge and skills to help dogs recover from injuries, surgeries, or chronic conditions. When searching for a canine rehabilitation specialist to evaluate and treat your pet, it is important to work with a veterinarian or physical therapist who has advanced training within the field. Some common letters that would designate advanced training after these professional’s names include CCRT, CCAT, and CCRP.

The role of a canine rehabilitation therapist begins with a thorough evaluation of the pet’s condition, which may include a review of medical records, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as x-rays or MRI scans. Based on this evaluation, the therapist develops a customized treatment plan that is tailored to the pet’s individual needs and goals. Canine rehabilitation therapists are typically trained in both traditional and alternative therapies. They use a variety of techniques to help pets regain their physical function and mobility. These techniques may include exercise, manual therapy, hydrotherapy, laser therapy, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic ultrasound. Throughout the rehabilitation process, the therapist works closely with the pet’s pet parent to ensure that the treatment plan is being followed and to provide guidance and support. This may include demonstrating exercises or activities that can be performed at home, as well as monitoring the pet’s progress, adjusting the treatment plan as needed.

How do I get my pet started or who can I talk to about therapy?

If your pet has any of the conditions mentioned or is experiencing mobility issues, schedule your rehab evaluation with our certified canine rehab therapists by calling 201-499-1101. You can also send us an email with questions at rehab@sagevetcenter.com. Our rehab certified veterinarian and physical therapist can evaluate your dog’s condition, develop a customized treatment plan, and work with you to ensure your dog receives the care they need to lead a happier and healthier life!